I’ve had writers block for the past two weeks. I’ve been writing a series called Remembering Who You Are, and just when I was attempting to write part three, I realized that I could honestly go on forever. I will come back to that series because I do think it’s important but lately I’ve been consumed with something else. I’ve been thinking about this piece for a couple of months now and I finally think I’m able to put my thoughts into words. This past little while has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I guess that comes with digging up the past and letting it go. I have been literally and figuratively cleaning out my closet. It’s a long, tedious, and sometimes painful process. However, it is necessary. I need to make room in my heart for more love, more joy. I need to get rid of the pain and suffering that no longer serves me, the stuff that is preventing me from really being connected to myself and those around me. I deserve love and happiness, and I’ve realized that the most loving thing that I could ever do for myself is to express myself. Holding on to my pain in silence, and only talking about what is socially acceptable is only hurting me, no one else. If you think about it, if you never speak about your pain, if you never try to understand it, how does that not eventually hurt those around you? I know I don’t need to speak of my pain in such a public manner, in fact I write about these things in my own personal journal almost everyday. I also talk to the people who love me most about these things as well. I chew on it, sit in it, feel it, and then find a way to put into words on this blog. Once I get to the point of putting my story online, I can finally let go. I do my best to come to this space and turn my pain into something positive. I want to share my lessons with you, because maybe I’m not the only person who needs to learn it.
Recently, I listened to a Super Soul Conversations Podcast with Oprah and Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh is a well-respected Vietnamese Monk, Political Activist, and Author. It was a beautiful podcast that really touched me. I even wrote down a bunch of quotes from the podcast because I found it to be so meaningful to me. One thing that really stood out for me was when Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Your pain, your anxiety, is your baby. You have to take care of it. Go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get a relief. And if you continue with your practice of mindfulness and concentration, you understand the roots, the nature of that ill-being and you’ll be able to transform it.
Thich Nhat Hanh went on to define what he means by suffering, and basically, suffering is the fear, anger, anxiety, and despair in us. However, the purpose of mindfulness is to cultivate compassion and understanding. This is the foundation of happiness. First you must be compassionate and understanding towards yourself before you can do the same for others. This has been my main goal for myself. I decided that I was going to be happy back in January and in my heart I knew that the only way I was ever going to be able to do this was to find compassion and understanding for myself. Everyday, I have been more loving, compassionate, and understanding towards myself and it has paid tenfold. It is the reason why I have been able to write these pieces, and forgive the people who have hurt me in my past, including myself.
Over the past few months, I’ve been listening to Amy Winehouse on and off. There is one song in particular that has resonated with me the most. It’s called Stronger Than Me. At first, I thought this song spoke to me because it reflected the vast majority of my past relationships with men, where I’ve felt that I was always taking care of them and never feeling like my efforts were being reciprocated in the same way. Looking back, a lot of my relationships were very one-sided. My partners always seemed to need me more than I needed them, and when I needed them the most, they failed to help me. This would only leave me feeling very resentful, angry and upset. I was always the stronger one, and when shit hit the fan, I was left with the mess. After every relationship there would be longer and longer gaps between boyfriends because I just didn’t have the energy to give. I had given so much of myself to this person in a way that was very self-sacrificing. As if their needs were more important than mine. I saw myself as the strong one, or at least that was the story I would tell myself, and therefore, I didn’t need much from them to be happy. Well, that’s not true. This only made me feel more tired, depleted, and alone.
After some time and meditation, I’ve realized that this song resonates with me on a deeper level. A level that I only came to realize this past weekend, but before I get into that, I’m going to tell you a very sad, but true story about myself. One that not too many people know about me. A story that I’ve only recently been able to speak more openly about with my loved ones because I’ve finally realized the power it had over me and my relationships with the opposite sex. So, here it goes:
Once upon a time, there was a very insecure 15-year-old girl who was about to turn 16. She went to an all girls high school and was terrified that she wouldn’t never have a boyfriend because she wasn’t pretty enough, and well, there just weren’t too many opportunities for her to meet boys outside of school and dance class. She did just start working at a grocery store part time, but again, she just came out of puberty and really didn’t think much of herself. She still saw herself as that awkward, ugly, little girl, and in her mind, having a boyfriend would prove that she was in fact pretty. So, she made herself a profile on MeetMeinTO. This was a site where young people could meet one another and a lot of people used it to meet potential partners. She got quite a bit of attention, and at the time, she very much needed the affirmation. Finally, she met and decided to go out with this one particular boy. He was older, and he had a car, all the things that seemed important to a naive, insecure, fifteen year old girl. One day, this boy picked her up to go on a date. It was his birthday. We went to the movies, and after the movie he said that he wanted to go back to his place because his mom had people over for cake. Growing up, birthdays have always been so important in her family, so she didn’t think twice to join him and his family in continuing the birthday celebrations. He lived far from where she lived. In fact, he lived in a completely other part of the GTA. Once they arrived at his place, she came to the harsh realization that there was no cake. In fact, there was absolutely no one there. Terrified, and alone, she felt trapped. He had brought her home to have cake, but not the kind of cake she had in mind. That night she was date raped. He put her in a situation where she felt like she couldn’t refuse him. He had sex with her, and at the end she cried. She couldn’t stop crying. In fact, she couldn’t look at him in the face. He immediately apologized, but it was too late. He robbed her of her innocence, and because of that, she will never be the same.
I never told my parents about this, or any adult. I never got the help I needed. I was afraid, and because of that, I suffered alone. I didn’t allow anyone to help me, because there was a part of me that believed it was my fault. Like I said, I was a very naive, and insecure girl when it happened. I felt really stupid for allowing myself to be in a situation where I would be alone with a boy so far away from my home. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, but either way, I would have never used a landline to call my parents because I never wanted them to not trust me anymore. I didn’t want them to think less of me. I always wanted to be seen in a positive light when it came to my parents. They are the two people who I love the most, and I couldn’t bear it if they loved me any less. So I stayed in silence. It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I was able to tell my Mom what happened me. And guess what? She doesn’t love me less. Go Figure.
However, it took me a little bit longer to tell my Dad. In fact, I only told him to his face this past Tuesday and it was in passing because I wasn’t able to go into any detail with him. I am Daddy’s little girl. Always have been, always will be. There is no man on this Earth that I love more than my Father. So you can imagine how hard it must be to break your Dad’s heart in this way. I never want to hurt my Dad in any way, so I kept this a secret from him, I wanted to protect him, because I knew this information would destroy him. But this secret was slowly destroying me. I kept finding men who would leave me feeling depleted, men who would constantly be taking from me, or, I would just constantly give myself to these men without expecting much back in return. I would just keep repeating the feeling of being robbed over and over again. Well no more. I deserve better than that, and so did that 15-year-old girl.
When I listened to that song Stronger than me last weekend, it took on a new meaning for me. I realized that it spoke to me in a very profound way because it reminded me of my Dad. I realized that all I ever wanted my Dad to do was to protect me, to be the stronger one, but how could he? I never gave him the opportunity. I just assumed that he couldn’t handle it, and that wasn’t very fair to him, or to me. But then again, I was raped, it happened, and there’s nothing that can reverse that. My Dad couldn’t save me. He wasn’t there, and he’s not always going to be there. It’s up to me to pick up the pieces and save myself. I don’t need someone to be “stronger than me,” even though sometimes it can feel that way, where all you want is someone to “stroke your hair,” and tell you that everything is going to be okay, but I’m here to tell you that, that person exists. They exist inside of you. For me, I’ve been developing my relationship with this person everyday. Everyday I feel stronger, because through my practice of mindfulness I find the strength inside of me.